Minorca or Menorca is the second largest of the Balearics islands and yet even today remains the least developed, this in the sense that you will not find the place booming out lound music day and night, even today there is only one true discotheque on the island yes they still refer to it as a discotheque not night club, you will find more bars and restaurants serving authentic Spanish meals as opposed to burger and chips, although as they cater to the English tourist then English meals are readily available. The main diet of Menorcan’s themselves unsurprisingly is fish, one dish they are famous for is their lobster casserole (recommended). Minorca is also famed for it’s special blend of gin’s the best known of these is Xoriguer , and has been distilled on the island since the 18th century, the gin is made from grape and not grain as traditional London gins are.
Pay a visit to the distillery near the port of Mahon and get to try all the locally-produced liquors , of which at the last count there was about 12 .
Who ever the custodians of Minorca were when General Franco died in 1974 , i believe a decision was made by them to keep Minorca as close to it’s roots as possible, and who ever has been in charge since has carried this on. You will not find the 18 to 30 hordes partying all day and night here. That’s left for it’s cousins Majorca and Ibiza, what you will find is the more mature tourist and young families who enjoy the many beautiful and safe beaches. Please do not get me wrong there is night life here, in many of the bars and hotels you will find the normal mixture of music, karaoke and live entertainment including flaminco dancing, most of this entertainment finishes at 11pm but if you fancy dancing till the early hours then the place to go is Cova d’en Xoroi ,The Cova d’en Xoroi is a large complex of caves which has been converted to a discotheque, you will find this halfway down the cliffs, about 3/4 of the way along the south coast, (going from west to east) the Cova d’en Xoroi is open seven day’s a week in full season (check times out of season) from 10am till the early hours, this is well worth the visit for the spectacular views and especially the sunsets
The island is 50km long (north-west to south-east) and 20 km wide. The capital Mahon (which is also the name of the airport) boast the second largest natural harbour in the world (Pearl Harbour being the largest).When i first started visiting Minorca in the late 70′s the airport was no more than a shack, today to cope with over 1million visitor’s, Mahon airport is one of the most modern in the Balearics.
Although there is a spluttering of tour operators hotels on the island the majority of tourist that come to the island are of the self-catering variety and rent one of the many apartments or villas on the island, but even here the present day government has stepped in and stopped any more developments, one knock on effect of this is that the price of property is some of the most expensive in the Balearics.
The best time’s to visit Minorca .
As stated earlier this beautiful island has a huge pull for families this means children and lot’s of them, now I have nothing against children I was one myself once , but you need to be aware that between the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in September (the English school holidays) then there will be lots of young families on the island, as I have said I have nothing against young children , in fact both of my children loved going to Minorca when they were young and because of the safe beach’s there they learnt to swim in the sea at a very young age. But like me if you are of a more mature age and just want a break and enjoy the peace and quite of a beautiful island then I have found the best time to visit Minorca is June or the backend of September.
I usually take the second week in June, and have found the temperature to be around the low 70s in the day which is quite pleasant, however I would suggest you pack a couple of sweaters or light jacket as the evenings at this time of the year can get quite chilly
The other pluses going this time of year is you will generally be able to pick up a cheap flight ,(flight time from Gatwick or Stanstead is about 1 hour 45 mins) and also secure a discount on your accommodation , a lot of the holiday accommodation on the island is privately owned and as the season does not get into full swing until July owners are only to pleased to be able to get a week or two extra bookings and will generally offer a discount, as will the car hire firms , and of course as the island is not yet into full holiday mood you will find dinning out to be a more relaxing experience with less crowded bars and restaurants. Minorca is not an all year round holiday island, it is known as the windy island and while this can be quite pleasant in the heat of the summer the breeze can be quite deceptive as to how hot the sun really is so beware the sun burn especially for the little ones . In winter the wind can and does bring it’s fair share of rain.